Wagyu is a type of beef from Japan that is favored for its intense marbling and excellent flavor. There's no need for additional oil or butter when preparing this beef because of the flavorful fat marbling throughout. Learn more about Wagyu so you can decide whether it is the best choice for your next dinner party.
What Cow Breeds Can Be Certified as Wagyu?
Only specific breeds, all of them Japanese, can be certified as Wagyu. These include the Japanese black, brown, shorthorn, and polled cow. The Japanese black is one of the most sought-after of the Wagyu breeds due to its ability to develop the best marbling. Most Wagyu beef is from the Japanese black cow, with the other breeds making up a smaller amount.
Are There Other Requirements for Wagyu Beef?
Cow breed alone doesn't define beef as Wagyu. The cow must be a full-blood member of its breed, as hybridization can lower the quality of the beef produced.
Does Feed Affect Wagyu?
Feed choices are an important aspect of raising quality Wagyu beef cows. Most operations have specialized feed mixes that they have perfected over many cow generations, and these mixes are a closely guarded secret. Generally, Wagyu cows are fed a combination of grains, grasses, and minerals. Growth hormones and additives are strictly eschewed. They are also provided with good water, often spring water, and raised in the open air since content cows are thought to produce better beef.
How Is Wagyu Quality Measured?
Wagyu quality is measured on a scale of 1 to 5, with five indicating the most superior quality of beef. Grading is performed on four key points: the amount of marbling, the color of the meat, the color of the fat, and the fiber density. A rating of 5 is preferred by most cooks, although any Wagyu over a grade 4 is likely going to be superior in flavor.
Is It Possible to Breed Wagyu Outside of Japan?
Although beef bred from Japanese cows outside of Japan is not officially considered Wagyu, many operations in the US have bred and raised excellent substitutes. This was done in part due to periodic trade restrictions on Wagyu that occur to prevent livestock disease outbreaks. Superior foreign-grown Wagyu-style beef is raised from purebred Japanese cow breeds. Further, operations that have been working with Wagyu longer will likely produce a superior product as they have adapted their feed mix to the cow and the climate where the beef is being raised.
Contact a farm with Wagyu beef for sale to learn more.